We’ve set up a solid pathway for success in all ways but one.
Day 6: What do do when the arrow misses
Most Americans (and possibly the entire Western world) are failure-averse. This derives from years of conditioning in schools and media, which spends too much time praising and building up esteem with too little time devoted to failure. The result is that, when most of us screw up, we give up.
Today’s meditation will focus on retraining ourselves out of that bad pattern.
Once more, into the “trance”. As we meditate this time, we’ll begin by repeating yesterday’s meditation. We both observe (in the 3rd person view) and experience (in the 1st person view) ourselves performing those tasks that produce the results that we so strongly desire. This is important – we want the emphasis to always be on the path to success, not the accidents along the way.
Now, once we’ve covered all those patterns that we intend to produce, we’ll look at a case of failure.
I envision my future self, having just had a bad day at the gym. I’ll experience this once as though I was sick (which, at the red hot moment, I am), and once as though I somehow failed to even show up.
I see myself fail to accomplish my lifting target for the day. My muscles strain and strain, but I am unable to lift the weight that I know I should be able to lift. I set the bar back down, take a deep breath, and set a lower target than desired. While this is a failure to accomplish my goals, I am reinforcing a “do all that you can” attitude, which will ensure that I take at least a small victory out of my failure.
Now, I will envision the greatest failure – I didn’t even hit the gym. I imagine that I had a large project due, and I got a flat tire on the way home, and I just didn’t manage to make the time for my usual workout. I feel shame and disappointment well up inside me, but I kill them. I have no time for counter-productive emotions when it comes to my goals. So, I do some quick pushups and squats, each time reminding myself that tomorrow I’ll be ready to hit the gym twice as hard. This helps keep me positive about the gym and focused on the ultimate goal.
The same would naturally apply to my social and mental goals. I would envision a scenario such as a really bad date, then focus on how to move from the bad date toward the good date tomorrow. It’s a path of learning and development, not a set of rigid and measurable achievements.